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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Bismarck in Burleigh County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Final Occupation of Double Ditch

 

— Double Ditch State Historic Site —

 
Final Occupation of Double Ditxh Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
1. Final Occupation of Double Ditxh Marker
Inscription.  In front of you is a segment of the inner fortification ditch. Mandan villages usually were surrounded by a ditch and wood palisade to keep out enemies. These villages also used natural features, such as steep terrain and riverbanks, for added protection. Fortification ditches consisted of a deep moat and a wall of wooden posts that formed a palisade. Based on the 1905 archaeological excavations, the inner ditch may have been up to twenty feet wide and nine feet deep. The ditch reportedly had a flat bottom.

Ditch 1 protected the last settlement at Double Ditch. At four acres the village was only about one- fifth its original area. Tiny bastions along Ditch 1 were mere shadows of those used in Ditch 4, 300 years before. Only 32 clear earthlodge depressions can be counted inside Ditch 1. This indicates a population of less than 400 persons when smallpox struck in AD 1781-1782. Mounds and ruins from previous times towered over and surrounded the small, final community.

Intersecting pits in the village core attest to three centuries of continuous occupation. There are few, if any, superimposed house floors or architectural features,

Inner fortification ditch image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
2. Inner fortification ditch
except those from the very last cycle of lodge building. Remains of lodges were completely removed prior to rebuilding, and thus multiple house floors are not visible in the soil profiles. Undisturbed subsoil is present directly below the house floor in the photograph.

Caption:
House floor on planed-off, sterile C Horizon sediments

 
Erected by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 46° 56.096′ N, 100° 53.933′ W. Marker is near Bismarck, North Dakota, in Burleigh County. Marker can be reached from North Dakota Route 1804. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bismarck ND 58503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Archaeological Excavations in 1905 (within shouting distance of this marker); Ditch 2 (within shouting distance of this marker); Missouri River Resources (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Geophysical Prospecting in Archaeology (about 300 feet away); Homes (about 400 feet away); Ditch 3 (about 400 feet away); Double Ditch State Historic Site (about 500 feet away); Midden Mounds (Trash Heaps) (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bismarck.
 
Also see . . .

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 State Historical Society of North Dakota on the Double Ditch State Historic Site. (Submitted on January 11, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 11, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 11, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Jan. 22, 2021